Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Student Pia Lopez-Morton attends staibdance intensive in Italy

Junior dance and business double major Pia Lopez-Morton received a Sally A. Radell Friends of Dance Scholarship to attend the staibdance Summer Intensive in Italy this past July. Read on for a reflection on her experience.

There are few moments in one’s life when you realize that what you are doing, where you are, or who you are with will make a significant change in your life, or rather, that it has changed your life. This past summer at the staibdance summer intensive was one of those moments, and I could not have experienced it without Emory Friends of Dance. While I knew it would be a wonderful experience when I applied, I underestimated the greatness of the classes, faculty, location, how close I would get with the other dancers, and how much fun the final performance would be.

For two weeks, we had four classes every day, and each class was in a different style or technique. I have pages of notes for myself on new prompts and exercises that I found useful and what I learned from them. Our faculty for the first week included two talented dancers from staibdance, who asked us to get in touch with each other and our emotions on a deeper level than I previously thought possible. Another faculty member was Oliver Robertson, a dancer with J. Wilton Dance Company, who was not only great at teaching us new “tricks” and giving us challenging repertoire, but was immensely talented himself. We also learned from Elita Cannata, a beautiful and swift dancer from Italy, who taught us Countertechnique which is based on the principle of having a problem-solving toolbox for the mind and body. 

Near the end of the program, we learned material from past works by George Staib, and learned to adapt and change them. On the final evening, we performed in Sant’Agata, for the local community in the open air in front of a church. It all came together. The performance not only looked and felt great, but the public loved it and ended up joining us at the end just dancing with the music and the lights. It was a great ending to all the dancing and hard work we put in. The professors absolutely made this program what it is, not one was like the other, and each one was exceptional.

Waking up every morning and seeing the ocean and mountains right outside our balcony was another privilege that this intensive gifted us. We stayed in the town of Sant’Agata, where we would walk its streets every other day to get to the studio, grab food and explore. By the end of the intensive, not only did several locals take us under their wings and teach us the helpful words in Italian, but we also became friends with the owners and workers in the area. It felt like our home away from home. 

On one of our free days during the intensive, I had the opportunity to see Cyrano at the Ballet in Naples, Teatro San Carlo. As we sat in our box seats, I looked around the magnificent gold and red theatre and the artwork on the ceiling. It felt like a dream come true, as I have loved and dreamed of ballet since my youth. I know everyone who was part of the intensive was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to something so new and refreshing. Having the ability to be among the Italy locals and the magnificent historical art was completely enriching.

We became a family at the end of the two weeks, all 50 attendees and the faculty. Because everyone came together from dancing around the world, there was a plethora of new material and creativity that is difficult to experience otherwise. 

Thank you for sharing this reflection Pia! Click here to learn more about The Friends of Dance at Emory.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Meet the Emory Dance Program's Inaugural Arts Fellow: Annalee Traylor 

Photo by Owen Scarlett

This fall we are excited to welcome creator, choreographer, and director Annalee Traylor to campus as the Emory Dance Program's inaugural Arts Fellow. This fellowship, supported through a generous gift from Sarah Arison (‘07B), will provide Emory students and the entire Atlanta arts community the opportunity to experience and learn from Traylor’s uniquely inventive work that lives amidst the entanglement of dance and theatre. 
Throughout the course of her year-long fellowship, Emory students and the greater Atlanta community will have several opportunities to engage with her in conversation and view her work on both students and working artists: 
  • Rosemary Magee Creativity Conversation: September 19, 7:30pm at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts (free event)
  • Emory Dance Company Fall Concert: November 16-18 at 7:30pm & November 18 at 2:00pm at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts ($15/$12/$8 tickets) 
  • In the spring of 2024, Traylor will offer a culminating showing open to the public. Details about this event will be released shortly. In addition to these offerings, Traylor will teach several courses throughout the fall and spring semesters, providing Emory students the opportunity to experience first-hand immersion in her creative practice and movement vocabulary.  
Traylor's passion for the arts has been nurtured from an early age, and led her to pursue a life of movement and creation. After attending high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Traylor obtained her BFA cum laude from Point Park University, where she was awarded the Nicole Marie Falbo Scholarship. After graduation she went on to dance professionally with Pittsburgh's August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble for three years where she was named in Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch. Following this she freelanced with various companies in Los Angeles, New York City, and Pittsburgh. In 2023, Traylor obtained an MFA in Choreography from the California Institute of the Arts with the S. Disney Lund Scholarship in Dance. 
Collectively, Traylor's work has been presented nationally and abroad in LA, NYC, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Houston, Huntsville (TX), Seattle, Temecula, Brooklyn, Battle Lake, Durham, the Netherlands, Italy, and Portugal, and at venues including Battery Park, Green Space, Hudson Guild Theatre, New Hazlett Theatre, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Diavolo, Ferst Center for the Arts, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, Gibney, and Highways Performance Space among others.  She has been commissioned and awarded residencies through Kennesaw State University, The Dance Gallery Festival, Highways Performance Space, and Periapsis Music and Dance.  Other commissions include Texture Contemporary Ballet, REED Dance, Point Park University's International Summer Dance, Houston Contemporary II, Dance Canvas, and Voices Carry Inc. In 2020, Traylor was awarded Outstanding Choreographer at the Youth American Grand Prix regionals. She was chosen for Dance Lab NY's 2023 Summer Cycle, a virtual residency with Korzo Dance of The Hague, Netherlands.    
Choreographically, Traylor’s physically driven, tragicomic worlds house the paradoxical, emotionally focused characters who centralize her work. Her interrogation of intersectionality elicits genre-bending, animatedly nuanced storytelling that emphatically challenges and plays with societal conventions. Perpetually guided by intuition and impulse, Traylor's practice is nourished by archetypal and emotive state-based research that is inextricably colored by her experience as a female from the American South. She works with a variety of artists - it is through these meaningful, intimate, and shared collaborations that she is able to connect deeply to her understanding of why and how she tells the stories that she does.  
To learn more about Annalee Traylor, visit 
For information about the Emory Dance Program and upcoming events, visit and follow us on Instagram and Facebook at @emorydanceprogram. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Emory Dance Selected to Perform at the 2023 ACDA National Festival

 Photo by Shannel J. Resto

This May, Emory Dance Program faculty member Julio Medina’s work “tlalli” will be performed at the 2023 American College Dance Association (ACDA) National Festival in Long Beach, California at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center. This event will mark the first ACDA National Festival since 2018, and celebrates ACDA’s 50th anniversary year. 
Approximately 30 dance works are chosen from hundreds presented at regional conferences throughout the country, and this is the first time a work from the Emory Dance Program has been selected. This honor marks a milestone for the program, and will be monumental for Emory Dance students, providing them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn, network, and broaden their perspective of what dance can be.
Founding Director of the Emory Dance Program Sally Radell shares, “It is an immense honor to have Julio’s choreographic work selected for the National ACDA conference. This is a huge first for us and truly gives us great visibility as a significant national dance program of excellence. It is also tremendously exciting for our students to be able to take classes for three days and perform alongside dancers from the top tier dance departments and programs in the country.”
Throughout the three-day festival on May 26-28, students in Medina’s work “tlalli” will have the opportunity to take a rich array of classes and view several Gala performances. Highlights of this year’s festival include:
  • A commercial dance track with workshops led by local professionals in the entertainment industry, exposing students to career opportunities unique to the region
  • Classes focusing on dance styles of the 1970’s, the decade ACDA was founded, offering dancers an opportunity to experience history through movement
  • A roundtable series discussing current trends and issues for dance in higher education
Medina, a former dance professor at CSULB, shares this reflection upon receiving ACDA’s invitation, “I am so excited that Emory Dance will be attending the national festival. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the conference, but it’s the first time Emory Dance will participate in the National Gala performances. The conference will be at my old stomping grounds CSULB, which is particularly exciting. Plus, my parents and in-laws will be able to see ‘tlalli’, one of the works I’m most proud of creating.” 
Tlalli is a Nahuatl word, the language indigenous to the Mexica culture often referred to as Aztec, meaning earth, soil, and the planet. In his work the dancers explore their relationship to the earth, employing techniques of both contemporary floorwork and cumbia (a musical rhythm and traditional folk dance). They explore themes of rebirth, death, labor, collectivity and connection to the ground. Medina found inspiration in the story of Quetzalcoatl (feathered serpent god) and the Five Suns, as well as Gloria Anzaldua's theoretical frameworks on feminism and mestizaje. Adjudicators at the Southeast ACDA Conference described the work as “A rollicking ensemble, celebrating individuals within the community. Effervescent, playful, and unexpected."
The 2023 ACDA National Festival will be held on May 26-28, 2023 at California State University in Long Beach, California. The performance will take place on May 28 at 6:00pm at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, and tickets are now available for purchase here: 
For more information about Emory Dance Program’s upcoming season visit our website at and follow us on Instagram and Facebook at @emorydanceprogram. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Emory Dance Company Choreographer: Olivia Browne


Photo by Shannel J. Resto Photography

It's show week for the Emory Dance Company! Read on to learn about choreographer Olivia Browne's work, and make sure to purchase your tickets for the performances on April 20-22, 2023.

Olivia Browne is a senior dance and movement studies major, and this is her third time choreographing for the Emory Dance Company. She has been dancing for over seventeen years and choreographing for eight years. Olivia has trained internationally in modern, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and many other dance forms. She has studied with renowned dance companies such as Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, and Batsheva Dance Company, as well as participating in the 10-month Masa Program with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Olivia is planning to continue performing and creating dance after she graduates this spring.

Read on to learn about her research and choreographic process. 

My choreographic process usually starts with seeking inspiration from other art forms, e.g., film, poetry, art, and then using that inspiration to generate movement. I aim for collaboration with my dancers, giving them a movement vocabulary they can utilize to create in order to stay within the realm of the piece. I then combine the choreography I provide with the movement generated by the dancers to create something hopefully cohesive. This creation process has been a bit different in that I am meeting with the cast in four separate groups rather than all together, which has its own logistical challenges. However, this allows me to get to know each of the dancers more intimately and tell four completely different narratives within the context of one piece. Also, an essential part of how I conceptualize my work is the music, costume, and lighting, which inform all aspects of the choreography from the beginning of the process until the end.  

For this work, I am expanding upon the physical and academic research I did in the previous semester regarding the circus. While I love and appreciate the existing circus arts, I want to abstract the overarching themes and concepts of the circus as a cultural entity rather than provide my version of circus performance. I am greatly inspired by the relationship dynamics between the Ringleader and the other acts of the circus, as well as the circus performer’s relationship with the audience, as they pertain to control. 

The piece is divided into four distinct vignettes, called “acts,” which include The Ringleader, The Beasts, The Balancing Acts, and The Clowns. An exciting and challenging part of this process is that I am trying to create movement that embodies many different roles; For instance, an elephant does not move in the same way a tightrope walker would. This considerable variation in movement quality forces me to diversify my choreography and push myself out of my comfort zone. I am also very excited about the opportunity to work with such a big and talented cast. I could not be luckier to have the dancers I have. 
I hope audiences engage with this work in whatever way speaks to them; I only ask that they consider how their role as an audience contributes to the piece as a whole. After all, without the crowd, there would be no circus.   

Thank you Olivia! 

Purchase tickets for the EDC Spring 2023 Concert here. 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Emory Dance Company Choreographer Madison Lee

 Photo courtesy of Madison Lee

There's only one week until the Emory Dance Company spring concert! Read on to learn about choreographer Madison Lee's work premiering on April 20-22, 2023.

Madison Lee is a junior studying dance and business administration with concentrations in marketing and arts administration. She began her modern dance journey at Emory, dancing for Emory Dance Company and quickly becoming involved in the dance community. This is her second work for Emory Dance Company, after creating Blue Hour in spring 2022. Madison has worked with choreographers such as Jacque Pritz, Julio Medina, Lyrric Jackson, George Staib, Xan Burley, and Alex Springer, and presented a solo at the American College Dance Association last spring. She is excited to continue dancing in the Atlanta area and expanding her work as both a dancer and a choreographer. 

Read on to learn about her creative process and inspiration. 

My choreographic process actually begins with music. I’ll find songs that I am inspired by, and then I create a phrase that serves as a jumping off point for future movement. I also collaborate a lot with the dancers, especially with this work. I got the chance to work with each duet individually, and we worked together to create their movement. 

In my work, I am exploring concepts prevalent in sisterhood. The duets in this work explore themes of protection and sacrifice, nostalgia and adolescence, and performance and teamwork. 

This piece was made for and about my younger sister, so I am most excited for my sister’s reaction to this piece. I hope that she sees herself in the work and gets to look back at our lives together. I too feel drawn in because it is so personal, which is a newer realm of choreography for me. 

I hope that audiences watch this piece and see their own experiences with their siblings and connect to the themes explored by the dancers. 

Thank you Madison! 

Purchase tickets for the EDC Spring 2023 Concert here.